Church Revisits Views on Gays; Episcopalians Face Key Votes

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), June 13, 2006 | Go to article overview

Church Revisits Views on Gays; Episcopalians Face Key Votes


Byline: Julia Duin, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Episcopal leaders face the ecclesiastical Rubicon over homosexuality at their triennial General Convention, which starts today in Columbus, Ohio.

The next 10 days will show whether the more than 200 bishops and about 850 delegates will pull back from their 2003 resolutions allowing the consecration of homosexuals as bishops and church-blessed same-sex unions, as has been demanded by the worldwide Anglican Communion.

If they agree to "repent," the fragile unity of the 70-million-member Anglican Communion - of which the Episcopal Church is one of 38 provinces - may hold. But some, including retired Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, are pessimistic.

"It is difficult to say in what way we are now a Communion. A 'federation of churches'? Possibly. .. Bitterness, hostility, misunderstanding and strife now separate provinces from one another and divide individual provinces," Archbishop Carey said in a May 9 speech at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria.

Twenty-two provinces have fully or partially severed relations with the Episcopal Church over its 2003 consecration of Canon V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire as the world's first openly homosexual Episcopal bishop.

Episcopal leaders were warned in March by Exeter Bishop Michael Langrish that they may be disinvited from the worldwide 2008 Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops in Canterbury unless the General Convention shows "repentance" for its actions. Expulsion from Lambeth, the closest thing Anglicans have to a policy-making assembly, is tantamount to being expelled from the Anglican Communion.

This year's convention differs from the 2003 General Convention in Minneapolis by the number of bloggers monitoring the event.

Liberals are "sick unto death" of seeing "the mission and the ministry of the church we love .. hijacked," wrote the Rev. Susan Russell, president of the homosexual caucus Integrity, on Sunday on inchatatime.blogspot.com. She faulted "those determined to scapegoat [homosexual] vocations and relationships as expendable bargaining chips in the game of Anglican global politics."

Deputies and bishops will consider 11 resolutions based on a 2004 document known as the Windsor Report. …

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